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TouchArcade and the self promotion forum rules.

07-21-2015, 01:45 PM
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,688
TouchArcade and the self promotion forum rules.

Hey guys,

So something we've been talking about quite a bit behind the scenes at TouchArcade is how we can modify/rewrite the existing forum rules to make a bit more sense to the way the App Store and the TouchArcade community works in 2015. Back when we started out, we were incredibly strict about keeping self promotion on lockdown. It was vital to building the community, as strict enforcement of no self promotion meant that all the people who were looking to discuss iOS games did it here instead of their contribution to threads being links to their own blogs or other places that fractured the community. Additionally, not allowing self promotion turned the people who otherwise would just use TouchArcade to spam links to their blogs into people who are now a valuable part of many thread discussions. Enforcing no self promotion (obviously) worked great, as TouchArcade has continued to be the place to discuss iOS games.

When people started posting videos on the forums, we started to look the other way on this as it's sort of nice to see a video of a game and iOS gameplay videos were pretty scarce. Unfortunately, the side effect this has had over the years is we now have people who do absolutely nothing but post their own videos and promote their YouTube channels. Additionally, iOS videos are no longer scarce at all, and now we have dozens of people whose entire presence on the forums is exclusively dedicated to posting their own videos. Some threads you'll have 4-5 videos before a single meaningful text post, which is making TouchArcade less of a discussion forum and more a ... YouTube aggregation site.

To back things up a bit, other large communities on the internet like Reddit exist on a 10% rule, where only 10% of the things you post can be your own content. This, similar to our banning blog links so long ago, has fostered a community that leans more on community and discussion over people just dropping links to everything they're doing. Here's Reddit's take on what constitutes spam-

If your contribution to reddit consists mostly of submitting links to a site(s) that you own or otherwise benefit from in some way, and additionally if you do not participate in discussion, or reply to peoples questions, regardless of how many upvotes your submissions get, you are a spammer. If over 10% of your submissions and conversation are your own site/content/affiliate links, you're almost certainly a spammer.
Now, before you read too much into this, I'm not saying that the people who post videos are spammers... But the people who only post their videos potentially aren't really adding much to our community in any meaningful way. I mean, most gameplay videos now are 30+ minutes long, and the people who post them obviously have at least played the game for that long. Doesn't it seem like you want people who have played the game to be discussing it? The problem is, they largely aren't. If you look through the posts of our prolific video posters, it's pages and pages and pages of YouTube links, and their other posts typically are low content "Looks cool" or similar to get a post near the beginning of a thread to later edit a video into.

I mean, anyone can go to YouTube and search for a game video and post it, I guess from where I'm sitting I'd rather the people who were doing this be members of our community who are picking out cool videos or otherwise interesting things then sticking around to discuss them instead of "find the thread on TouchArcade and post a link" being what you do after your YouTube video is processed. Of course people are always going to be able to post whatever relevant videos they want, but doesn't it seem a little weird to allow people to continue to utilize our community exclusively as a way to pad YouTube views and channel subscriptions?

Anyway, before we do anything drastic I figured I'd just open up a discussion inside of our community here to try to get to the bottom of what people who use our forums the most find to be valuable. Doesn't it seem like TouchArcade would be a better place if dropping every video link you upload also means you need to contribute and participate in our community beyond just spamming videos?
07-21-2015, 02:33 PM
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 489
I do enjoy the videos, but the discussions and feedback are more helpful in the long run for me.

I will usually read through the comments and see what issues, if any, people are running into and see how much they are enjoying the gameplay. I will go back to the videos if I am on the fence, so they are helpful, but more helpful when they include some thoughts. I've never really thought of them as spam when they don't include comments though, but I've never bought off just a video without reading some comments.

In addition to deciding what to purchase, alot of the benefit from TA, for me, comes post purchase. I tend to get in pretty early for certain genres; memebers sharing tips and strategies are great, the current Warhammer, Deathwatch thread is a good example where people are sharing images of teams, builds and draws from cards etc.

I've clicked links to some memebers sites when they offer game reviews or rankings of genres, things like that, but usually they have a history of contribution and similar taste that makes me interested in checking out their site.

07-21-2015, 02:52 PM
Videos are usually more helpful than the first few pages of 'not available bug again QQ' and 'what's the install size' questions without any answers. In fact, I come to the first pages of the TA thread rather than head to YouTube to see the action, cause then I can be sure it's not ad related.

I hope it's deemed 'WorkingAsIntended'

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07-21-2015, 03:29 PM
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,688
But is having all the video posters racing to post their videos in every thread better than those people contributing to the discussions with their expertise having actually played those games? I'm not saying we shouldn't have videos, I'm saying if you're going to utilize the TouchArcade community to drive views to your channel that shouldn't be your primary use for the site. I feel like if we modified the rules to have a reddit-like 10% rule, there'd still be people posting videos since we're a lucrative community to content producers, we'd just ask them to participate and be held to the same standards as everyone else in the forums. If all you did was come to every game thread and drop a link to your blog with your first impressions without participating on any level, we'd ban you. Why should this be different?

Ideally I'd like to crack down on zero-content posting like people asking the same questions over and over too, it's not an either or kind of thing.

Last edited by Eli; 07-21-2015 at 04:07 PM.
07-21-2015, 03:40 PM
Joined: Apr 2015
Location: Arendelle
Posts: 654
Perhaps those who post only videos think that this is the only way they can contribute to the community.

Either way, I rather see a few videos on the first page than 3 pages of "what's the gameplay like?" and "gameplay vid pls". With that said, yes they are sometimes very similar and redundant. I see no harm in removing a few of those.

I don't see the video as spam or "just posting a link" though. I see it more like a quote from a review blog, if I go by your analogy.

Last edited by Elsa; 07-21-2015 at 03:49 PM.
07-21-2015, 03:41 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 1,560
People posting videos without any sort of comments or commentary does nothing for me. Like you mentioned people can go to YouTube for that kind of stuff.

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07-21-2015, 03:59 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Posts: 2,241
For me, it's a problem when there's already like two or three videos up and someone posts another like I'm not gonna watch one of the more trusted posters that frequent the site.
07-21-2015, 04:03 PM
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,688
That's kind of the problem, we're just collecting more and more and more of them. 99% of the time they're just straight direct capture gameplay video without any kind of commentary and playing through the exact same tutorial. At this point, the camcorder videos where they actually show how you play a game feel more interesting. When we've got four people racing to post the exact same video, what's even the point? It'd be infinitely more useful if instead of a video being posted 30 seconds after a thread goes live, one our community members who are always around and super active simply searched YouTube instead and posted one they thought was cool.

The tutorial videos though are just really sterile, pretty boring, and don't add anything to the overall discussion which is kind of the entire point of a forum. Just to reiterate, I'm not talking of getting rid of people posting videos, but rather, if you're going to drive traffic to your videos you need to stick around and join the discussion.

Last edited by Eli; 07-21-2015 at 04:10 PM.
07-21-2015, 04:27 PM
I agree that only posting videos and not take part of the game discussion is very anti-community thing to do and needs to change.

and yeah tutorial videos has no place on this forum.. people know where to find them..
07-21-2015, 04:27 PM
Joined: May 2010
Location: Deepest Circle, Hell
Posts: 8,614
Originally Posted by Eli View Post
When we've got four people racing to post the exact same video, what's even the point?
I don't mind that there's more than one person posting videos, but that (quoted above) is exactly the problem I have with the whole thing: It's always the same damn video. We have a major community here, with some members who (as mentioned already) thrive on the whole gameplay video thing, so why don't these video "posters" take advantage of that by actually making different videos?

Of course there's always that race to be the first one to post and at the same time it certainly seems like a hassle to actually...you know, put an effort into making these videos, but who the hell watches them anymore when even the splash screen (or whatever it's called) is literally the exact same thing and the only difference between one video and the next is the name of the user on Game Center?

If these guys would actually take 5 minutes to show something other than the very same opening 30 minutes of the game...screw the fact that they don't do anything but post videos...at least they'd be doing the community something useful.

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Last edited by metalcasket; 07-21-2015 at 04:31 PM.